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Monday, 22 October 2018

A Stylish Chat with Kelvin and Lauren Burford of Simply Wynn Custom Clothiers

Lauren and Kelvin Burford of Atlanta are taking on the fashion industry in the Hollywood of the South, and they have a unique, fun, and creative approach with their Simply Wynn Custom Clothiers. They can style you from head to toe along with weekenders and backpacks so you're traveling in style as well. Learn about more about their business as well as the challenges and joys of owning one. 

What do you and Kelvin love about your life right now?

Kelvin-Since retiring from the military, I have loved my overall freedom. I can come and go as I please, travel when I want to. 

Lauren- I love being able to be a wife and mother without the demands of the military. Although I enjoyed my career, my duties often took me away from my family.

Which one of you wanted to start Simply Wynn? Did you both have an interest?

Lauren- Ever since I was a young girl, I would design clothes and dream of one day owning a boutique called Mary Jane’s after my great-grandmother. She was the original Coco Chanel! I was known for my fashion-sense and enjoyed and still do, making others look their best. I joined the Air Force and put my dreams on hold. Once I finished my military career, I had the opportunity to learn the custom clothing business from my mentor.

Kelvin- Although I grew up fond of wearing suits, it never crossed my mind that I would have my own line of clothing. I used to wear suits regularly in high school just because I wanted to feel like a professional and I liked to look good.

Kelvin & Lauren- Together we discussed creating our own brand once we understood how the business worked.

When did you create Simply Wynn?

Kelvin & Lauren- We created Simply Wynn August 2016.

I notice you honor veterans by giving a discount to them. As you both have mentioned that you served in the military, which branch did you serve in?

Kelvin & Lauren- We both served in the U. S. Air Force.

Thank you for your service. By serving in the military, did it prepare you for your business?

Kelvin & Lauren- Thank you!

Kelvin- The military taught me how to work well under pressure. It taught me to maintain high standards, professionalism, and I display that in my business. The Air Force paid for my degree in Business Entrepreneurship.

Lauren- My first job in the Air Force was in a mental health clinic. Working there taught me more about life, understanding the mind, and how to work with people than any other job I have ever had. The military also paid for my education so no complaints there. 

Is it hard to put yourself out there with a fashion business? What have been the challenges?

Kelvin & Lauren- It is hard putting yourself out there in the fashion business when what is considered fashion today is skin-tight, revealing, and extremely flashy. Call us old-fashion but there is still stylish clothing that can accent your shape or features without revealing everything.  

Lauren- The challenge from my perspective has been getting customers to trust your brand as a start-up business.

Kelvin-Also, knowing the who’s who in the business and making the right contacts without being taken advantage of. That is what I consider to be the biggest challenge.

What are some of the joys?

Kelvin- I love the travel and meeting new people. I like the transformation of seeing the client when we first consult with them and the end-product. I really enjoy those clients who have never owned or worn a suit and seeing the confidence that I helped instill in them by designing a suit. They seem to walk a little taller and hold their heads higher.

Lauren- I love seeing customers look at themselves in the mirror with an air of confidence because we designed a look just for them. I have met actors and models in the industry who are down to earth and who desire to be the best representation of your brand. My husband and I work well together. We have forged genuine relationships with some of them. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and it works for us.

Was there anybody in the fashion industry or a company that inspired you to create it?

Kelvin-No, no one in the fashion industry or a specific company inspired me to create it however, our mentor Clarence Jones of CJ Custom Clothiers encourages and inspires me. I watch his determination and professional work ethic and it is worthy of emulating.

Lauren-There was no company or person in the fashion industry that inspired us to create Simply Wynn. My inspiration came from my grandmother. My grandmother inspires all who come around her because she is such a peaceful spirit.

With your company, a client can custom design their own clothes and your company makes it? Is that how it works?

Kelvin-We specialize in custom suiting, tuxedos, overcoats, and shirting. We do a consultation and design each feature of the aforementioned with the client. He or she selects their fabric and accessories and our team of tailors constructs it.

Lauren- We also offer ready to wear pieces for women. We recently teamed up with a seamstress that can bring our design ideas to life for women. Whether it is a dress or a gown, we have the resources to make the design happen.

Who are your biggest supporters?

Lauren- Our family members are our biggest supporters. Simply Wynn is named after my grandmother, Ernestine Wynn Patrick and she is overjoyed knowing that her legacy will continue.

Kelvin- I would have to agree, my mother and mother-in-law have been our biggest supporters. Yasin Abdul, model/actor and Clarence Jones (C.J.) have been there since day one.
Yasin Abdul and Vernice Grigsby modeling Simply Wynn Custom Clothiers.
Photograph by Ralph E. Williams of e37 Photography 

 I read a quote on Pinterest that says, “Fashion is what you buy, style is what you do with it.” Do you agree?

Kelvin- I agree. Growing up I was not able to afford name-brand clothes however with what I had I wore it well. I got “Best-Dressed” in high school and people couldn’t believe what my outfit cost from head to toe. It’s not what you wear, it’s how you wear it.
Lauren- I couldn’t agree with the quote more. You can put the same blouse on two different women. Woman number one may add a necklace, make up her face with complimenting colors, and even style her hair based on the blouse. Woman number two may simply wear the blouse without giving any thought to the garment and without making it her own. You’re born with style; either you have it, or you don’t.

Anybody in the fashion industry that either of you looks up to?

Kelvin- I look up to Damon John because like us he started his clothing line out of his home. Like him, he saw a product that was over-priced and went home to recreate the product and sold it for less. I have found some custom suiting to be overpriced. Not being able to afford custom suits in my younger years, I feel as though every client should be able to afford custom clothing.

Lauren-I do like the character Whitley Gilbert from the 90s show A Different World. Although Jasmine Guy was playing a character, she was always stylish and feminine in her role. Also, I am a huge fan of Calvin Klein and Coco Chanel. I like classic and chic! These influences inspire me to keep our products classy and tasteful.
Another individual who did not start out in the fashion industry but is a style influencer is former First Lady Michelle Obama. She is a community servant at heart and does it with such style and grace.

Coco Chanel once said “Fashion has two purposes: comfort and love. Beauty comes when fashion succeeds.”  Do you agree with Coco?

Kelvin- I agree and disagree. I agree with fashion providing comfort and love however it only accentuates a person’s natural beauty. What fashion does is boosts the person’s confidence which exudes outwardly. Beauty doesn’t come when fashion succeeds, it comes when they are centered mentally and spiritually.

Lauren- This is another quote I agree with. When people look good they feel good and their beauty radiates from within. We have another business Inside Out Life Coaching that is still under development. It is our belief that regardless of what we design and style you in, the confidence only lasts temporarily. Inside Out is designed to help cultivate the beauty from within so that when you wear any garment not necessarily Simply Wynn’s, your confidence lasts because you have achieved mental and spiritual soundness.

Finally, what are a few things you would like future clients to know about Simply Wynn Custom Clothiers?

Kelvin & Lauren- We want future customers to know that Simply Wynn is all about its customers. We strive to make our clients feel comfortable, confident, and that they’ve become a part of our family. When we do consultations, we try to familiarize ourselves with our customers. We care about the things that impact them such and make it a point to remember and celebrate those special things in their lives. Without clients, there is no Simply Wynn.
Follow them on social media and check out their website for more information.

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Interview with Author Ben Longoria of Texas

My latest interview is with Ben Longoria, of San Antonio, Texas who is an author, father, singer, and Army Veteran. When he's not writing, he enjoys reading, cycling, anything outdoors, traveling, attending rock concerts, and playing cards. Learn more about him and his books as well as his future plans. Guess who is his favorite author? You'll have read to find out.

What do you love about your life right now?

I made a lot of mistakes in my twenties and I think now, in my thirties, that wisdom has really come in hand. I have an optimistic outlook on my future now in comparison to my cynical angry youth. So that’s made me particular about the company I keep and the choices I make. I’m very lucky to be surrounded by loving friends and family. And with my writing taking off I’ve been given the chance to meet new people, creative types like myself, and share the things we love to make. Really all of this is possible because I have a fantastic girlfriend and intelligent children who’ve given me a reason to aim for success.

As an author of three books, what was the hardest part of writing and having your book published?

The publishing isn’t hard. I’ve really nailed down the process. It can be menial but really the hardest part of writing is the writing. Like anyone in the creative field, I’m constantly burdened by doubt. Reading has had a negative side effect in that it’s made me more self-aware of my own writing. You read something so utterly good and masterful and start to think you’re a hack wasting your time. So I sit at my computer wondering if this is even worth it all. I love it, I’ll do it until I die, but those fears start to make you second-guess that magic voice in your head trying to pour this story onto the page. The only way you can get through that hurdle is to trust that voice and keep going.

Which one was your favorite to write?

This is hard. While The Hound of Endtown is special because it was so successful and it was my first printed book, I loved writing Hello Defiant- the follow-up to The Hound of Endtown. This one idea sparked and suddenly I had this whole examination of life in the aftermath of the apocalypse. As I was writing it, it felt like a big story. This was something beyond Endtown and my short stories. And when it was done I felt like a real writer. I managed to write a novel and a sequel to something everyone loved. Writing follow-ups can be difficult and many can flop but the reaction has been great and several readers say it’s my best work so far so I think I was able to achieve what I wanted. I love that story so much.

Was there anybody particular that inspired you to write?

I grew up in a house that promoted reading. My parents were religious, so Bible study was a routine part of life. Our house was also packed with books. My father and mother both read often. I recall dinners filled with conversation revolving around something they recently read. My mother was always interested in a writing career, like journalism. So my love for the written word sort of came naturally in that environment. It wasn’t until I received some accolades from my professor that writing became a real career option and not just a hobby.

Where do you find is the best place to write?

I really love writing so anywhere is fine with me. I’ve written in all sorts of places. In the Army, I’d write in my green waterproof journal inside a Humvee or lying on a cot. Even then I loved it. I wrote a lot of interesting stuff back then. However, the one place that really gets me in the zone is the library. Even as a kid surrounded by all those books, I just had to write. I’d read a few books and couldn’t resist. With all that inspiration it’s impossible for me not to become lost in my head. Libraries are like my church.

Any software you would recommend to someone who wants to write a book and any other advice you could offer?

I’m not hip with writing software. I use my five-year-old MacBook with Libre Office because I don’t have Microsoft Word. I also still rely on handwritten notes. I’m a bit of a Luddite with those things, but I’m trying to catch up. Of course, I’ve never had the desire to use a typewriter so I still like the technology I do use.

Who is your favorite author and book?

At first, this seems like a hard question. I love so many writers and books that feels impossible to pick just one. However, I will gladly pick the writer that came to mind firsthand that writer is Stephen King. Stephen King is part of my identity as an American. He’s so fully a part of my growing up- reading Cujo in middle school, watching It, and falling in love with The Dark Tower while serving in the Army- that it’s hard to imagine a life without his work. He makes reading cool. He’s a literary rock star. People that don’t normally read, read King. My kids know who he is. If we’re going to go with my favorite “book” I won’t count The Dark Tower since I can’t pick just one. So cutting out The Dark Tower series I’d have to say The Stand is my favorite Stephen King book. I love apocalyptic tales and this one is so colossal that after reading it I was shocked how much of a story he packed into that dictionary-sized novel.

Picture from Pinterest 

Tell me three fun facts about you.

1. I am really into Turok. I love the games, comics, toys, etc. I sleep with the game soundtrack sometimes (love the death marshes) and even have a Primagen action figure
In my car with me.
2. I hate inanimate objects. If there’s a hell I imagine it being filled with clothes hangers. I have to untangle, corners I’m constantly bumping into, headphone cords that you can never unknot.
3. I love tacos. And when I say tacos I mean specifically, Tex Mex breakfast tacos- bean and cheese, potato and egg, chorizo and egg, bacon and egg, bean and chorizo, and so on.

In one word, describe yourself.


I share inspirational and motivational quotes with my readers; do you have one you can share?

I’ll give you the one I have tattooed on my arm “Life is fleeting.” That’s my philosophy. I’ve been in plenty of near-death experiences so I’m very aware this whole thing is going to end one day. I see it there on my arm, and it reminds me to make what I’m doing matter. I’m lucky to have this life so I can’t waste it.

Are you working on any new books at this time?

Oh, I have so much I’m working on. Right now I have eight books skeleton plotted, Right now I have eight books skeleton plotted, bare-bones sort of stuff. I’m currently writing the second volume of short horror stories called The Forest Around the Hill. That’s almost done so I’ll be writing The Hermit soon, the last of the Endtown books. In that time I’m also editing a short story collection for another writer and publishing an anthology of stories and poems. And I love doing all of it.

Where can your books be found to purchase?

You can find them all over the place. Most folks use Amazon and Barnes and Nobles’ online store. Wal-Mart carries them on their online store. You can also visit my website

Searosspub.com and go to the store page that has the links to Amazon. For any readers in San Antonio, The Twig Bookstore also carries copies in store (sometimes signed).

Please follow Ben on his social media:

Monday, 3 September 2018

My latest chat with the lovely and talented actress Jennifer Bryant ...

Jennifer Bryant was born in Germany and raised in Rossville, Georgia where she has been pursuing and working her dream as an actor in Georgia on various stages from Chattanooga, Rossville,  Ringgold, and Dalton. She enjoys reading, arts, fine wines with friends, going on adventures with family and friends, and has a knack for learning Jeopardy facts. Read more her love of acting as well as the challenges she has faced.

Introducing Jennifer...

What do you love about your life right now?

I love that I am entering a new chapter of my life. I am coming out of my twenties and into my thirties this past year, and I am hoping to use my experiences up until now to my advantage. I want to continue acting and building stronger more flawed female characters. As women, we are all flawed and strong in so many ways, and I want to celebrate those qualities that all of us as women have inside of us and showcase that those flaws and strengths that make us all beautiful.

How long have you been acting?

Almost ten years.

Was there anybody that inspired you to act?

So many. One of the women that inspired me growing up was Lucille Ball. I loved watching I Love Lucy growing up. Lucy was such a dynamic and full female character that never took no as an answer.

What are the joys of acting?

For me, the biggest joy of acting has been knowing that for a small amount of time I can make someone forget their troubles and worries of their lives. When I was a child and even now going to the movies and watching TV made me forget all of the things in my life that I could not control even if it was just for a few seconds at a time. I also found comfort in the characters I was watching in those shows, movies, and performances because they helped me realize that not only was I not alone, but that there are people out in the world like me.

Jennifer with Adam Cook and Laurie and Shaw in Inspector Hound.

Any challenges?

Yes, my weight has always been a challenge for me. Earlier in my twenties and early in my acting life I actually had an acting coach tell me the only roles I would ever play would be poor white trash because of my weight and my southern accent. I have time and time again proven that person wrong and myself. It has never been easy but, I fight for every role I have ever gotten, and I have been able to succeed and continue to push and surprise myself with every role I get.

You were recently in the play Steel Magnolias as Truvy, what did you enjoy about portraying her on stage?

I love that she is the type of woman I have always wanted to be. She is beautiful inside and out. She loves everyone she comes in contact with and she is larger than life character. She is a smart and savvy businesswoman and gives of herself freely.

What was your favorite scene in the play?

My favorite scene is the opening scene of the show. This is the scene when I feel like Truvy shines. She meets Annelle and bonds with her immediately. We get to see the dynamic between Truvy and every other person in the play and we get to see her fun loving personality shine through.

Do you see yourself in each character that you play, and if so, how?

Always, I do not have one specific acting method that I subscribe to and follow, so I always feel that every character I play is me because I initially approach all of my characters with the question of "what would I do if this were my life?' And I build and grow from there.

Tell me three fun facts about you.

I love to cook. I am obsessed with makeup, and I am a doggy mom.

What are you currently working on now? Any plays?

I am currently working on getting my YouTube channel off the ground. I am hoping to have it up and running on a consistent basis within the next couple of months. I want to blend my love of makeup and theatre together for others to enjoy as much as I do.
I'm currently portraying Masha in The Notebook of Trigorin at Dalton Little Theatre.

Tell me a little bit about the role you're playing as Masha and what you like about portraying her on stage.

I love playing Masha because I feel she is real. Masha is very intelligent, but she is a slave to her own emotions and short-sidedness.

What are the dates of the play?

September 7- 9 and September 13-15 at Dalton Little Theatre.

Who are your biggest supporters?

My boyfriend, close friends, and the acting community I have been so fortunate to become a part of.

Where do see yourself in five years?

I see myself happy. That is not to say I am unhappy now. I just think far too often we focus on the wrong aspects of life or the things we have yet to accomplish to fulfill us and forget to find happiness in everyday life. It also does not hurt to mention that in five years I hope to be acting and maybe even getting paid to do so.

In one word, describe yourself.


Lastly, I share motivational and inspirational quotes with my readers, do you have one you can share? 

"Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, and dreams are forever" by Walt Disney.

Jennifer will be on stage at Dalton Little Theatre in The Notebook of Trigorin starting this weekend on Friday, September 7-Sunday, September 9 then Thursday, September - Saturday, September 15. For tickets, click here 

Please follow her on IG Jennbryant07

Sunday, 2 September 2018

New Music out by Grammy Award Winner.James Worthy "Move" featuring Ecstacy

James Worthy, Grammy award-winning music producer, songwriter, and singer has put out a new song titled "Move" featuring Ecstacy of the legendary group Whodini. Click here to listen. James has worked with Fetty Wap, T-Pain, Bobby Brown and many others in the music industry. He calls himself a rebel and he's had the pleasue of meeting Michael Jackson which was a defining moment in his life. I've had the pleasure of interviewing him back in 2017 where you can read about what inspired him to be on the path that he is on. Check it out: interview 

Quick bio from his Facebook page:

Grammy Award Songwriter & Producer who has credits with various artists including Grammy Nominated Musicians & Award Winners Like: B Angie B, Arrested Development, Men At Large, Silk, Fetty Wap, Sara Stokes, Robin S, Tony Sunshine of Terror Squad, Truth Hurts, Bobby Brown, Petey Pablo, Yung Berg, Bonecrusher, Lazaro Arbos, T­-Pain, Tyra B, Future, Amanda Cole of En Vogue, Bobby Valentino, Michael Keith of 112, Lil Zane, Kia Shine, Tony Terry, and so many others.

For more information on James, check out his  Website 

Please follow him on his social media: Instagram Twitter Facebook

Saturday, 25 August 2018

Frederick Nah IV...Local Legend In Atlanta

Frederick Tabiyus Nah IV of Atlanta is being honored today with local legend award at the I Am Free Music Festival. He has a tremendous impact on the entertainment industry in Atlanta along with having an incredible network.  He's been in involved in over 70 productions, directed 20, and written 10. He will be releasing his music debut "I Am Now" next month and will be performing at the event today with "Falling To Pieces."  His performance receiving his award at 5:20 and then performing at 5:30.

He's CEO of Phoenix 4 Productions which is the next generation of top filmmakers, writers, models, motivational speakers, actors, and coaches in the performing arts. As well as a singer and director, he has also created and written a TV pilot show which will be out in the fall titled "Should I Do It?" which is a high school drama.

For tickets: I Am Free Music Fest

The festival details are as follows:
DATE: Saturday, August 25, 2018
TIME: 1:00 pm - 7:00pm (Gates Open at 12)
LOCATION: Heritage Sandy Springs
6110 Blue Stone Road, Sandy Springs, GA 30328

Follow Fred on social media: 

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Interview with local Actor & Director Ron Houston of Dalton....

Picture from Pinterest

My latest chat is with Ron Houston of Dalton, Georgia, is a retired nurse as well as theatre enthusiast.  He will also be featured in August copy of  For Women Only Magazine in DaltonHe has been acting and volunteering with Dalton Little Theatre since 2002. He admits he probably would never have acted if not for the encouragement of his late wife Carol. They were married eighteen years.

He decided to create the Carol Braden Houston Memorial Scholarship Fund in honor of her and her work.  Carol was the founding director of Dalton's Infant Pre-school Council, which was created back in 1985. The mission of the council was to assist pregnant teens and teen mothers to stay in school and learn to care for themselves and their children. She was also the first female member of the Dalton Kiwanis Club. 

Carol Braden Houston

Introducing Ron...

What do you love about your life right now?

A lot of stuff…One thing, I know what’s important in life, and that is relationships. My friends, my girlfriend Stephanie Haynes, my son Kevin, my daughter Nicki, two grandkids (Noah and Henry), relatives, and friends are all important to me.
Another thing, since Carol passed away, I don’t allow a lot of things get to me like they use to like for example politics.

You decided to direct the play Steel Magnolias to help raise funds for Carol Braden Houston Memorial Scholarship Fund. How is the scholarship awarded?

The scholarship is given out to a teen parent at end of the school year. It’s based on grade average with intention of furthering their education once they graduate. We award at the end of the school year.  We’ve awarded three since it was created in 2016. 

What’s the area of teen parents who are awarded?

Whitfield and Murray Counties

Tell me why you picked Steel Magnolias?

I picked it because my late wife loved the film and identified with Shelby because she was also a diabetic. On the poster for the play is: “it’s ok to be a female, strong, diabetic and southern." All of the characters all have one element that I can identify with Carol. 

When are the performance dates? 

The play will be performed at Northwest Whitfield High School on Friday, August  17, Saturday, August 18, and Sunday, August 19 at 2PM. Friday and Saturday will be at 7PM.

Do you have a favorite scene? 

One that hits home is when Shelby has her insulin reaction. Another favorite scene is in the last scene. When the ladies are consoling M’Lynn and also when Clairee grabs Ouiser and says “Hit her”. They end up laughing and realize that they can still laugh in spite of their sorrow. The ladies remind of my Grief Support group by banding together, laughing, crying, and sometimes evening having an argument.

Tell me three fun facts about you.

I’m a feminist. I believe in women’s rights. I like to observe people and imagine what their life would be like, you know to create a story about them. I like to do impressions, but I’m not good at it.

What are some of your hobbies and interests?

Painting and reading are a couple of my hobbies. Some of my favorite books are by  Stephen King, and my favorite book is “To Kill a Mockingbird” I enjoy biographies as well.  I also enjoy acting, and Carol encouraged me to act in a play in 2002. I’ve never done that before at DLT, and it was called Harvey. I played the lead.
I love Jimmy Stewart movies. I also enjoy talking to people and get to know them and some of their story. 

Who do you look up to?

One person is Jimmy Carter because he knew how to admit mistakes, and he was honest. He talked about his faith and did something with his faith as well. He admitted he wasn’t perfect. He keeps it real. I admire him a lot, and we happen to share the same birthday October 1st. 

Was there a particular actor or film that inspired you to act?

Jimmy Stewart... I wanted to get involved with theatre because I did enjoy attending the shows.

What do you love about acting?

I like the challenge of it to get a role and put a part of myself in it.  I like to create a backstory for the characters I portray on stage.

If there was one thing you could change in the world what that be?

That everybody could have Universal Healthcare.

Is there a play you would like to act in but haven’t?

Yes, To Kill a Mockingbird.

When you’re having a tough day, where do you go for encouragement?

I pray and sometimes go for a drive. I talked to my girlfriend.

I share quotes with my readers, do you have a favorite quote you would like to share?

Albert Pine “What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others is immortal.”  I’m trying to live by that. It was also a favorite of Carol's.

The cast members are Sabrina Akers as Annelle, Sierra Holcomb as Shelby, Maria Rochelle as Clairee, Amanda Havelin as M'Lynn, Jennifer Bryant as Truvy, and Vicky Quinn as Ouiser. The play is directed by Ron Houston and Jim Lansing.

For more information and to purchase tickets for the play, please click here 

As always, thank you for reading and sharing my interviews!

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